Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Using Ant Man to Explain Convictions under INA 101(a)(48)

For many years now, I've been teaching the meaning of conviction under INA 101(a)(48) with the same analogy. I talk about the McDonald's test. As in, is this a conviction that you're legally required to say that you have when you apply for a job to work at McDonald's? Do you have to check the "yes, I have a felony" box?

I don't use a visual aid, but I was mentally referencing something like this:


And then I talk about how the answer is different for immigration purposes. Deferred adjudication might mean you don't have to check the McDonald's box but it doesn't mean that immigration won't come after you.

This has worked like a charm. Or so I thought.

I finally had a student approach me -- one who did not grow up in the United States. This student came to me in office hours to ask for the cite to the McDonald's (SCOTUS ___) test so that they could better understand INA 101(a)(48). Never having worked in the United States, this student didn't understand the concept of disclosing criminal convictions to a prospective employer.

Once I understood this problem, I took a different approach: Had this student seen Marvel's Ant Man? Yes, the student had. Phew. I could then talk about how "Baskin Robins always finds out." And then it clicked.

SO.... going forward. I am going to use the above photo. And I'm going to use this 1 minute and 16 second clip from Ant Man.

I'm hopeful this will level the playing field for non-USC-born students who may have been struggling with my McDonald's example.


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